This issue marks the change of the editorial staff of the „Archive of the History of Philosophy and Social Thought”, as well as of its program council to include representatives of foreign centers. The new editorial staff wishes, in the first place, to express its gratitude to its predecessors, who for years took care of the high standard of the periodical, something the readers became accustomed to. Since its foundation in the 1950s, the periodical embraced the “renewal”, thus significantly contributing to a revival of research in history of philosophy and history of ideas in postwar Poland.
Given the importance of the formation of philosophical discourse throughout history, including its constitution as tradition (identity in change), the subject matter of our continuation will be guided by certain classical motives of this discourse. The division into practical and theoretical philosophy, its traditional proximity to such disciplines as theology, anthropology, logic, mathematics, and last but not least, in a sense the traditionally “protological” role of ontological and metaphysical reflection. Therefore we envisage publishing papers regarding these immanent metaphysical and ontological problems that determined the development of philosophy. Hence the need for the historical and genetic method. The work of a historian of philosophy is par excellence research work, one that requires a rich apparatus. Without moral and intellectual capabilities: philological, historical, moral, and philosophical a historian of philosophy will be unable to go beyond verbalism in understanding and explanation of sources.
The editorial staff share the conviction that research into the field of the history of the European philosophical tradition, both classical and in its unexpected developments, cannot be limited to erudite curiosity (as it is oft en the case with the history of other scientific disciplines), because the tradition coexists with philosophy itself as a special form of human thought. Here, history is at once the present and never grows out of date. Indeed it would be difficult to find examples, even of outstanding and original thinkers, whose thought were not shaped in reference to or in confrontation with the thought of their predecessors, including those distant in time.
There is no philosophy without history – one should remember this motto, particularly at present, e.g. quoting the concordant opinions of the philosopher Paul Ricoeur: “[…] it is a philosophical act to engage in the history of philosophy” and the historian of philosophy Stefan Swieżawski: “a thorough study of the history of philosophy primarily educates philosophers”. The work of a historian of philosophy is not a dead, reproductive endeavor, but life itself, sustained by the revivifying power of the sources studies, at the same time inspired by the driving force of the problems to solve that transpire. The history of philosophy is at the same time a history of problems.
In spite of our conviction of the autonomy of the history of philosophy as a science, in a hard debate, whose result was not at all decided in advance, we decided to keep the title of the annual in the same form, with the reference to social thought. This extension, however, does not mean – if it ever, did – a nod toward a form of sociological or materialistic reductionism, nor is by any means a derivative of the structure of the institution where the periodical was founded, i.e. the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw (it is worth recalling that from inception the “Archive” was always related to the Chair of History of Modern Philosophy of the Institute).
By keeping the title in an unchanged form, we wish to underline the natural openness of philosophy to other aspects of human thought and experience (it is no accident that many eminent philosophers were scientists, politicians and theologians). Also in this respect, we found inspiration and examples in the very history of the periodical, as for years the typical the “social” theme, and at the same connected to the history of ideas, such as religious and civil tolerance, was frequently featured, and became the stimulus for a broad theoretical reflection.
We can also speak of “openness” today, in concord with the spirit of the times, in the aspect of European integration. The “Archive of the History of Philosophy and Social Thought” intends to embrace the idea, by, for example, inviting authors from various countries, by publishing both their texts and those by Polish authors in congress languages. The journal contains four categories of materials: /1/ texts by Polish authors in Polish; /2/ texts by Polish authors in congress languages; /3/ texts by foreign authors in congress languages; /4/ translations of foreign authors and translations of classical philosophical texts.
It seems desirable that such a significant journal be functioning in Central Europe. We remain convinced that we shall be able to meet our objectives, and thus we turn to all those interested with the encouragement promote the “Archive” to become an important European periodical.
The journal founded by Leszek Kołakowski, Bronisław Baczko and Jan Garewicz appears continuously since 1957.